This Saturday, four community members will take the stage at the Central Massachusetts Heart and Stroke Ball to accept one of the American Heart Association’s highest honors, the Heart of Gold Award, for their contributions to the health of the region.
Awards will be given out in four categories at the annual event, which is being held at Mechanics Hall in Worcester. They categories are: Community Leader, Cardiology Medical Professional, Neurology Medical Professional and Survivor.
This year’s winners were selected by members of the Heart and Stroke Ball Executive Leadership. Read on for this year’s winners.
HEART OF GOLD AWARD: CARDIOLOGY MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Dr. Daniel Carlucci
Chair, Medical Specialties
Reliant Medical Group
Dr. Daniel Carlucci was inspired to become a cardiologist because of his family’s history of dealing with cardiovascular disease. At Reliant, he practices preventive, invasive and non-invasive cardiology and is an advocate for helping people make healthy lifestyle changes.
HEART OF GOLD AWARD: NEUROLOGY MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Dr. Ajit S. Puri
UMass Memorial Medical Center
Dr. Ajit S. Puri has extensively published in the field of treatment in brain aneurysms and strokes. He is extremely passionate about minimally invasive treatment options for stroke and brain aneurysms. He also plays a vital role in the Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery, where he has been instrumental in co-authoring guidelines for stroke management.
HEART OF GOLD AWARD: SURVIVOR
Kayla Overly suffered a stroke during a workout class in 2017. Thankfully, she has recovered almost completely, besides some non-disabling symptoms that have now become a part of her daily life. Kayla, who has worked physician assistant in the field of stroke neurology for almost a decade, now uses her personal health experience, as well as her professional knowledge, to educate the community on the signs, symptoms and treatments for stroke.
HEART OF GOLD AWARD: COMMUNITY LEADER
Blair Young worked for the American Heart Association in central Massachusetts as senior regional director from 2013 to 2021. During this time, he was routinely recognized for his outstanding leadership and dedication to the American Heart Association’s mission to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. Before joining the AHA, he spent 12 years with the National Alliance on Mental Illness as part of their National Walk Program.
The Central Massachusetts Heart and Stroke Ball is sponsored by Saint Vincent Hospital, UMass Memorial Health, Fairlawn Rehabilitation Hospital, Mirick O’Connell, Reliant Medical Group, Shields Health Care Group, UMass Chan Medical School, Coghlin Electrical Contractors, Inc., Community Neuroscience Services, Chris DiBello #32 Foundation and Fidelity Bank.